Because the media are bubbledumb and arrogant and under the pathetic but hilarious illusion that someone like a George Clooney matters, the news in Iowa Tuesday that John Wayne’s family endorsed Donald Trump was greeted by our media overlords either with dismissal, or this kind of snark and outright hate:
Trump endorsed by wax figure of John Wayne. pic.twitter.com/geNbxz7oP7
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) January 19, 2016
John Wayne news makes me wonder if Clint Eastwood is endorsing any animate object this cycle.
— Steve Goldstein (@MKTWgoldstein) January 19, 2016
George Wallace sought out John Wayne to be his running mate. pic.twitter.com/ndoq63CcPx
— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) January 19, 2016
P.S. George Wallace was a Democrat. John Wayne was a Republican.
For those who thought the most appalling thing about John Wayne was his acting. https://t.co/rJB9QLfvCB
— Ted Mann (@TMannWSJ) January 19, 2016
Laugh it up, but in 2016 pop culture matters, and even though he has been dead some 36 years, John Wayne matters more than most. In fact, according to the most recent poll done by Harris Polling just last year, when it comes to movie stars, only Denzel Washington is more popular than John Wayne.
You read that correctly; thirty-six years after his death in 1979, a full 40 years since he starred in his final film, “The Shootist,” The Duke is the second most popular movie star in America, more popular than Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, and Angelina Jolie.
Clooney didn’t even make the top 10.
Moreover, in the twenty-plus year history of this annual poll, John Wayne is the only movie star to appear in the top ten every single year, and the only to appear even once posthumously. Unprompted, the pollster asks a very simple question: “Who is your favorite movie star?” This has been the result since 1994.
John Wayne is #1 with men, #1 with Republicans and #1 with one of the most reliable of voting groups: people 69 and older.
An even bigger deal is the fact that John Wayne is something much bigger than a movie star. He is an enduring America icon and institution. That’s why no one — not even legends such as Jimmy Stewart, Errol Flynn, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, or Humphrey Bogart — have ever shown up on this poll.
Wayne stands for something so much more than just his remarkable body of work.
Trump earning today’s endorsement might be a punchline to a DC Media currently circling the drain of irrelevance, but out here in the Real World, especially in a tight primary election, it could mean all the difference.
Just the fact that the endorsement meant something to Trump is yet another reminder that, if nothing else, this Manhattan billionaire cares about what we are about — he gets us.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC